Her Campus Logo Her Campus Logo
The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at UCSB chapter.

oh no, not again!

You’ve seen them before, and you’ll see them again. Just like low-rise jeans, cheugy shoes, and some other fashion flashes from the past, the flip phone has returned to the spotlight. But will this be its return to glory with revived 2000’s texting scenes, you know the one with Hillary Duff in “A Cinderella Story” with the iconic “LOL” text, and dramatic phone closes? Or will their flame simmer as quickly as it was sparked? 

Flip Phones in the past & present

The New York Times has covered the unsteady, though numerous, comebacks flip phones have made since the smartphone took over the market. An article from 2014 covered the “chic moment” of flip phones as top celebs, like the queen Rihanna herself, were pictured chatting away on a flip phone. More recently, though, a group of teens in New York caught the newspaper’s attention. This young group, known as the “Luddite” teens, have either ditched their iPhones for flip phones, or have deserted phones altogether to reconnect, pickup alternative hobbies, and formulate deeper ties of connection.

Trading usefulness for nostalgia?

I can’t deny the credit due to this young group of teens who’ve ignited the seemingly brilliant idea to ditch technology and obtain that reconnection so many of us crave and whine we need (calling myself out here—I see the appeal!). When I was little, my mom’s flip phone was thebesttoy. I loved flipping it open with unnecessary force and slamming it shut. Plus, the thing was practically indestructible. Dropped in a toilet, or a Coca-Cola, you name it, my mom’s flip phone was the ultimate definition of a trooper.

That being said, I understand the nostalgic and retro feel flip phones have. However, would I ditch my iPhone, with so much versatility it’s like an alien invention, for the dinosaur phone my mom let me play with as a kid? Absolutely not! Although the concept and the article itself prove an encapsulating read (and truthfully had me researching flip phones after), as my impulsiveness simmered, I wasn’t quite convinced. Here’s why:

why I’m anti-flip phone

#1: I was Googling where to get a flip phone when I realized, how in the world would I Google all the random little questions that come into my head through the day without my smartphone? I would go crazy trying to remember the name of that actor in that one show, or without Googling what the words in my homework reading actually mean.

#2: MUSIC! I cannot, and I repeat ~CANNOT~ go back to my iPod shuffle. PLEASE! There were 4 buttons: pause, play, skip, and back. I love having Spotify and Apple Music at the same time. Call me a tune glutton, if you will.

#3: Flip phone= bare bones. It can call, it can text, and yes—that’s really the sole purpose of cell phones. However, I like tracking my mom to make sure she got home safe at the end of the day without calling and waking her up from her so-deserved nap. Plus, say I’m eating dinner and remember I didn’t submit my paper due in 10 minutes. Unable to save me from my academic downfall, that flip phone isn’t looking so “I’m too cool for school” anymore now, is it?

#4: Convenience All reasons combined into one, the smartphone has taken us by storm because it does all we could ask for and more. It’s an alarm clock, calendar, radio, library, camera, weather reporter, map/navigation system and so much more! No matter who you are, there’s a use.

Disconnect without ditching!

I see the allure to flip phones, not through technological desirability, but their enforcement of a technological disconnection. Constant notifications, content, infinite apps, and news streaming during all hours of the day—yeah, I don’t love it. In fact, I may not love much about the world we live in right now. Although, I love that I can Facetime my mom, sister, and best friends at any time, as long as I have my phone.

That being said, I don’t see a dire need to go off-grid and all Chris McCandless on everyone just yet. At the end of the day, I pride myself on how I use my own phone. I turned off all notifications except texts and calls, eliminated most of my social media, and try to hold myself to a 2-hour-maximum screen time goal. Besides Facetime, I use my phone for emails, keeping my Duolingo streak strong, random Google searches, and reading news updates. 

Conclusion: flip phones= short honeymoon stage

I personally think the flip phone movement will be like a hot and heavy, love-hate relationship that will end with users returning to their exes. In this case, they’ll run home to their beloved iPhone (or Samsung, (cause I don’t shame you Samsung users, I love you guys!). Again, I mainly think the flip phone appeal is coming from the desire to disconnect and a stem of thinking that radical moves, or romanticizing tech in the past are the only way to achieve it—that’s just my take though. If you try out a flip phone and love it, maybe you can convince me otherwise. Until then, I’ll stick to my all-in-one miracle machine!

Kristi is a third-year at UCSB studying sociology and history with a minor in feminist studies. In her spare time, you can find her trying to revive her peace lily, looking at photos of her dog, or watching benjiplant.